Kate Racculia’s Bellweather Rhapsody should be a must-read for everyone this Summer. In the Catskills in 1982, a murder-suicide in room 712 off the grand old Bellweather Hotel is witnessed by a young bridesmaid who happens to be there for the wedding of her sister. Flash forward fifteen years to the annual Statewide music festival, where hundreds of high school musicians, including Rabbit Hatmaker and his twin Alice, have gathered to practice and perform. Another guest that same weekend is Minnie Graves, the young bridesmaid, now grown, who returns to find answers to what happened years ago. A snowstorm strands them all in the hotel and meanwhile Alice’s roommate, one of the stars of the orchestra, disappears. Is it a stunt or real?
The search for answers introduces a glorious cast of well-written characters. The plot unfolds in such a way that the slight twists and turns leave the reader unable to stop reading. This is a hard to classify book as it’s neither horror nor coming of age nor a mystery, rather it’s all of these things and more. Racculia has a sure-fire hit on her hands with her excellent debut.
Matt Bell, author of In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods, sums it up best, “Witty and smartly moving, Kate Racculia’s Bellweather Rhapsody offers a heart-thumping mystery of music and murder, wherein the past repeats itself, and in doing so becomes malleable again: just as an orchestral score can be rearranged to new effect, so an unsolved crime sometimes returns to shock and surprise anew—and in both cases the outcomes are as unpredictable as they are suspenseful.”